I was so excited to find this recipe! Hearing Jen talk about the cider doughnuts on Vermont apple farms always made me drool. I didn't have a doughnut cutter so I used a biscuit cutter. I also fried the scraps, which reminded me of Mom's homemade scones in Oakley. Where's that recipe, eh?
2 red apples such as Cortland or McIntosh
2 1/2 cups apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 TBS vegetable shortening
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Core and coarsely chop the apples (do not peel). Combine with 1 1/2 cups cider in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the apples are tender and the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor or a Magic Bullet until smooth. Measure the sauce; you should have 1 cup. (Boil to reduce further, if necessary.) Let cool slightly.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
3. Beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the shortening in another bowl with a mixer on medium speed until sandy. Beat in the egg and yolk, then gradually mix in the applesauce, scraping the bowl. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix to make a sticky dough; do not overmix!
4. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and pat into a 7-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Meanwhile, make the glaze; Simmer the remaining 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Whisk the powdered sugar until smooth and glossy, then set aside. Mix the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside for the topping.
6. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Cut the chilled dough into 12 rounds, using a floured biscuit or doughnut cutter. Slip 2-3 doughnuts at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1-2 minutes on each side, adjusting the heat as needed. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.
7. Dip one side of each doughnut in the cider glaze, letting the excess drip off; dip just the glazed side in the cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Serve warm.